So you made the decision to adopt a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution for your organization? Great choice! But the work is not over. Once you’ve decided which PSA tool is right for your business, you now need to approach the implementation process strategically in order to unlock the full potential of the solution. That strategy must include processes and practices that will encourage employee adoption of the solution, since a tool is only as powerful as the people who wield it.
Here are three strategies to ensure that the people who will use your PSA solution are not only excited about the new tool and eager to make use of it, but will also be equipped with the knowledge and training they require in order to use it wisely and maximize your investment into the product:
Get buy-in from your team early by outlining the benefits of adopting the new solution
In order to achieve wide-spread adoption and support of the new solution, getting employee buy-in right from the start of the process is key. Clearly identify and outline for your team the reasons why your organization is investing in this solution and how its functionality will be of benefit to them and help solve problems or challenges they currently face.
Be sure to establish and share the business benefits you are expecting to achieve after go-live. This can include benefits such as achieving scalability, reducing overhead, or increasing business predictability.
Allow your team an opportunity to describe current challenges they face specific to their individual departments, and explain to them how they can use the new solution to help them overcome those challenges.
Start by training a few select people on your team, and make sure you have representation from every department that will ultimately use the solution
Approach your implementation with a select team of employees that are excited to try out the new solution and that represent different stakeholders in your organization.
A PSA implementation team that includes stakeholders from only the services team, for example, will miss critical requirements from sales, resourcing and the back office, which will slow down adoption across the organization. If you run a consulting organization, involving someone who understands the needs of your consultants in the project planning will go a long way to ensuring consultants will use the tool when it goes live. Take time to understand who will actually be utilizing the tool and include representatives from those different areas of the organization in the actual implementation process so any potential challenges can be raised in a proactive manner.
Encourage feedback and check-in regularly with your team to address concerns
Once you’ve gone live with the solution, don’t just sit back and hope that your employees are adopting the tool to its full capacity. Schedule monthly check-ins where you sit down with various departments and ask questions about how they’re using the tool, where it’s benefiting them most, where it isn’t solving their challenges, how it could be used better, areas where they could use some additional training, etc.
Doing so will encourage your employees to test new features of the tool and find new ways to use it, and they will trust that their feedback is being taken seriously and that the organization is interested in helping make their jobs easier by maximizing the effectiveness of the solution.
Time is money, especially for consulting firms.
This means that project management isn’t just a way to track what is or is not completed; it is also the best way to make sure resources are being used strategically, that output is maximized, and that progress is in line with projections and commitments.
In a consulting company, project management can help improve profitability and productivity by improving timeline and budget management, maximizing resources, optimizing processes, and ensuring consistent and timely deliverables.
Here are some of the best project management tips for achieving best-in-class consulting services:
Scope Thoroughly And Specifically
If there’s one thing that every consultant dreads, it’s a mid-project change in scope. One of the biggest threats to a project’s profitability is when the scope changes partway through a project and timelines and budgets get thrown out of whack.
Taking the time to truly understand a project and include a detailed scope of work in the contract can help to prevent the scope of work expanding without compensation. It gives you the opportunity to create change orders—including an updated budget—if a client comes back with additional changes not included in the initial scope of work.
But scoping a project should be equally as important in terms of your project management. Being specific about what is included in each stage of a project will enable your employees to do exactly what is required—no more, no less—for a more controlled output. Being specific about project scope within your team means you’re ensuring additional resources aren’t being used where they won’t result in actual productive business impact.
Don’t Start From Scratch When It Isn’t Necessary
Efficiency is key to productivity and profitability. Most consulting companies have aspects of their deliverables that are repeats in whole or in part of products already completed for other clients. Whether this is templates of documents, programming code, presentations, or other projects, it can be highly productive to prevent redundancy in your consulting company. This allows you to produce similar output with decreased input.
A helpful tip is to make it part of your project management process to identify what aspects of completed tasks may be reusable, and to have these items readily accessible to your team. It can also be helpful to tag tasks in your project management software or Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution that can be completed using one of these reusable documents.
Regularly Update The Client And Check-In On Their Satisfaction
Don’t initiate a project and then fail to check in until the deadline is approaching. Healthy project management requires regular check-ins to make sure the project is developing on time, on budget and most importantly, to the customer’s satisfaction.
A good tip is to identify which points of the project have the highest risk of throwing the project off course and the earliest points you’d be able to detect these threats, and to set—at minimum—check-ins at these points. It can also be helpful for consultants to choose a PSA solution that allows you to see at a glance the health of your current projects. A tool with surveying capability to routinely request client feedback and gauge their satisfaction level is an added bonus as well.
Keep Everything In One Central Location
Our next project management tip for consultants is to keep everything in a central location. Many consultants have fallen into the trap of using multiple file management systems including multiple messaging platforms (such as email, chat, or Slack) as well as CRMs to track conversations, DropBox and/or Google Drive to store documents, different file versions unintentionally saved on multiple devices, and so on. This can lead to confusion, inconsistency, and lost productivity.
Instead, part of your project management process should include managing documents, revisions, client feedback, customer information, and communication in a central location. A robust PSA solution like Klient Software can manage your entire services business on one platform. And by integrating with your existing CRM, ERP, and other applications, you can ensure that all of your processes are in sync.
Learn From Past Successes And Failures
The final, and perhaps most important part of your project management strategy should be a project debrief at the completion of every project. This debrief will help you and the rest of your company to understand what went well, what went wrong, and what processes can be improved in the future.
If you managed your project effectively, you should have analytics that show the progress of task completion, information about when budget was used and whether it was in line with projections, resource use compared to projections, and reports from any risks or changes that may have manipulated output. A PSA solution can be especially helpful in making sure you have this data available at the completion of a project.
The information from each debrief should then be compared to previous reports. Is there a part of your projects that your company predictably underbids? Resources that aren’t being used efficiently or that aren’t being given enough time to complete tasks? Steps of the process that tend to go slower or faster than expected? Analyze your data, adjust processes accordingly, and repeat what is working well.
As your Professional Services Organization grows and evolves, the software and tools you use to be successful will inevitably change over time as well.
Eventually the time will come when your simple time and expense or basic project management software will no longer be sufficient for running your business effectively, and you will need to consider implementing a more robust and comprehensive project management tool such as a Professional Services Automation (PSA) solution.
However, changing the tools your employees have come to know and be comfortable with can often be challenging. It usually helps if you can encourage your team to be excited about the new software by showing them how valuable it will be in helping them do their job more efficiently.
Here are 6 strategies to consider when introducing new project management software to your team in order to gain their support and make the transition as frictionless as possible:
#1. Talk about it early and get your team’s buy-in
It’s important to remember that you never want to blindside your team with new project management software. Make sure they know new software will be coming as early as possible (even before you determine which software to purchase). It can also help to get team members’ feedback on features they’d like to see in the software. These conversations can help warm them up to the idea of a new software solution while getting them excited about the new functionality they’ll be able to take advantage of.
Be wary, however, about asking your team which software they’d like you to implement. By doing so, you’re likely to receive a wide range of responses making it nearly impossible in the end for you to select one that will please everyone. Instead, ask your team members ahead of time which features they’d most like to see. You can also offer them a list of potential features to rank in order of importance. Let them know you’ll use that feedback to find the right project management software for the team as a whole.
#2. Make sure the software you select is a true replacement for existing tools that are important to your team
Make sure your new software is an ample replacement for whatever tools your team currently uses to manage similar tasks. If a team member doesn’t feel that the software fulfills his or her needs, they’re more likely to continue relying on their old project management methods instead of making the switch.
You may be trying to replace 2 or more tools with 1 new and more comprehensive tool, but be sure to double check that the new tool will have all of the functionality that is crucial to your team’s success and that you aren’t taking away any important capabilities from them. Adding new functionality and creating easier ways of doing things is a plus, but be careful that you’re not eliminating capabilities by sunsetting software that is imperative to the team’s performance while offering no suitable replacement.
#3. Have the basics set up before you introduce the software to your team
The setup process for a new project management tool can be time consuming. Having basics in place, such as team member logins, project information, client information, etc., before introducing the software to the team can help things go more smoothly. It will make the migration process to the new software seem less daunting and will also provide real-world examples for your demo/training instead of hypothetical ones.
Remember that the less tedious setup your team has to do before they dive in and start using the software, the more likely they are to quickly adopt it and begin using it to its full potential.
#4. Make sure everyone receives appropriate training in advance of migrating completely to the new software
Each member of your team likely has different levels of comfort with technology and differing abilities for learning new software. Tailor training experiences based on the comfort level of your employees. Some may prefer to attend a web-based training with a support rep or a detailed in-house training session. Others may prefer to watch a couple of online tutorials then explore the software themselves. Whatever the method, what’s most important is ensuring each employee gets some form of real training. This helps to create positive first interactions, enables them to more effectively use the tools, and helps them to hit the ground running when it’s time to migrate to the new software.
It may also be beneficial to select 2 or 3 people from your team who are eager to learn new software, and generally adopt to new technology easily, to become in-house experts on your new project management software. These individuals can help the implementation process by answering questions that your other team members may not otherwise have reached out to support to ask, and can assist you in training the rest of the team.
#5. Allow a sunset period with the existing tool and give enough time for your team to switch over to the new software comfortably
It’s important to fully detach from the previous tool(s), but not immediately and not without warning. It can take time to fully move all of the information over and to migrate to the new system. It can also take time for your team to adjust.
However, as much as it’s important to allow time for adjustment, it’s equally important to have a hard stop date. With advanced warning, your employees can adjust and transfer information without feeling rushed. They are also less likely to hang around in the old system for their own convenience.
Set this stop date while in advance and make sure everyone on the team knows that they should ask the necessary questions and request additional training if they need to, in order to ensure they are comfortable with the new software by this deadline.
Is your team considering a more comprehensive project management tool?
Services organizations depend on team collaboration for success.
Between connecting the Services team members themselves, to cross-departmental collaboration with other teams in the organization (Sales, Support, Accounting, etc.), to ongoing communication with the client, there is no shortage of people that need visibility into a project and its status.
A Professional Services Automation (PSA) software with functionality that fosters team collaboration can make it easier for Services organizations to support open communication with internal and external stakeholders throughout the entire lifecycle of a project.
Communication Among The Services Team Members
Services teams need to communicate and collaborate amongst themselves in order to manage projects efficiently and effectively.
PSA software offers features that make it simple for Services teams to create visibility within their department and increase communication. Some of these features include project management, resource planning, and time and expense management. A sophisticated Gantt chart with functionality including full inline editing, rapid task creation, drag-drop of task sequence, quick predecessor creation by wbs or task name, task scheduling directly from the Gantt, configurable columns display, split-pane, and much more deliver an exceptional experience for managing projects and ensuring teams are on the same page when it comes to project deadlines.
In addition, choosing a PSA solution that integrates with the tools that organizations are already using to communicate can drastically improve team collaboration. Integration with Slack for example, is becoming increasingly important for organizations selecting a PSA software, because it allows teams to manage projects and services directly from within Slack. A PSA like Klient Software, for instance, allows users to view projects and tasks, drill into project and task details including project profitability and financials, create new project and tasks, as well as enter time worked against projects and tasks directly from within Slack.
Communication Across Departments
The most successful services organizations also work hard to improve communication across various departments within the business. Repeatable project delivery success relies on close collaboration between the sales team, the project delivery organization, the finance function and the client. PSA provides a single, trusted platform to manage deal scoping, deliver projects and track financials that improves outcomes for all parties and builds stronger customer relationships.
A PSA built on Salesforce, for example, can boost communication and transparency between your Sales and Services teams. This can drastically improve project scoping and estimating. And, by integrating with various accounting and ERP applications, a PSA software can succeed in aligning the accounting department with sales and services as well.
Communication With The Client
Perhaps most importantly, communication with the client is imperative to driving repeat business and creating long-term customer relationships.
PSA software enables better client collaboration throughout the life of an engagement, significantly improving the likelihood of the project being delivered in line with customer expectations. PSA formalizes the process of engaging the services team in the sales cycle, which promotes confidence on both sides that the project will be delivered as sold. During the delivery of the project, customer communication can take place in real-time, quickly resolving issues as they arise.
Krow Software, recently announced survey functionality for their PSA solution which goes a step further in fostering collaboration between the project team and the client. With Krow PSA, you can now create and deliver project and customer surveys including NPS, CSAT, or free-form surveys to analyze client feedback and sentiment, learn from project engagements, and help build long-term customer advocacy to increase retention and expanding selling.
Why A Customer-Centric PSA Is Best For Team Collaboration
A Customer-Centric PSA is designed with customers at the core, providing a way for project teams to work with each other, and hand-in-hand with customers from sales through service delivery.
Klient PSA offers a modern and seamless customer experience, fully transparent communication between the project team and client to ensure alignment of expectations with real-time two-way communication, integrated customer feedback through survey tools and project health check statuses, and real-time integration with back-office systems for more successful project implementation and greater customer success.
A Professional Services Automation solution is an investment, and organizations should make sure they choose the PSA solution that makes the most sense for their business.
With plenty of options to choose from, understanding the benefits and capabilities of a PSA solution built native on the Salesforce platform can help you make an informed decision.
Discover what kind of PSA solution is right for your business by following the chart below:
Want to learn more about PSA on Salesforce?
To learn more about PSA solutions built native on the Salesforce platform, schedule a demo with us to see the benefits of Klient PSA built natively on Salesforce.
For small businesses, choosing a CRM can sometimes be a difficult task.
Many will want one that can effectively manage their pipeline and keep records of leads, opportunities, and closed won deals, but without requiring all of the complex functionality that comes with a larger CRM. Most small businesses considering a CRM will also say it needs to be easy to implement and without the hefty price tag that generally comes along with a more comprehensive CRM application.
Here’s a list of the top 5 CRM we recommend considering if you are a small business, and some suggestions for narrowing down which one is the best fit for you:
Most people are familiar with Salesforce CRM, but what many don’t know is that Salesforce also offers a light-weight CRM solution called Salesforce Essentials, which is geared towards smaller businesses looking to get started with a simple and easy-to-use CRM application. With Salesforce Essentials you can get started with using Salesforce for sales and customer support for up to 10 users for $25 USD/month. With Salesforce Essentials you can automatically pull data from your email, calendar, spreadsheets, multiple support channels, and more to get a single, 360-degree view of every customer and your whole business. It also offers a simple setup assistant and in-app tutorials to help you get up and running and become a Salesforce Essentials pro.
Another benefit of Salesforce Essentials? When your business grows, it’s an easy transition into the complete Salesforce CRM application where you can take advantage of the full functionality the Salesforce platform has to offer.
When people think HubSpot, they often think of a powerful Marketing Automation tool. But, HubSpot also offers a CRM that makes a great option for small businesses. And, it’s 100% free! HubSpot CRM is everything you need to organize, track, and nurture your leads and customers. It allows you to automate the tasks salespeople typically hate doing, and takes minutes to learn, rather than months like other CRMs can. That means doing more deals and less data entry. With HubSpot CRM you can enjoy up to 1,000,000 contacts, users, and storage for free, without any expiration date – whether you’re a team of 1 or 1,000.
One of the benefits of HubSpot CRM is that you can sync it with HubSpot’s marketing automation software so you’ll always know which content your lead has consumed and can take a more personalized approach with your sales strategy.
Zendesk products let customers connect with businesses on the channels they prefer. And it’s all managed in one place—so teams can track conversations and never lose the thread. The result is a better customer experience, right from the start. Zendesk also offers seamless integration with CRM software. The Zendesk Suite offers everything you need to let customer conversations flow seamlessly across channels, creating a better experience for both your business and your customers. It provides simplified workflows through an easy to navigate, contextual interface, regardless of the channel.
A great thing about Zendesk is that it easily integrates and connects with other applications your business is using: https://www.zendesk.com/apps/
Pipedrive is a sales CRM built around the concept of simplicity. For small businesses, it’s a win because of its simple design and refined elements that make it easy to double down and zero-in on actions that improve sales. Rated the easiest CRM tool to implement on technology review site G2Crowd, Pipedrive offers a simple solution without all of the complicated functions of other CRMs which tend to require a lot of training and education in order to use.
The main benefit of Pipedrive comes down to how simple and fast it is to set up and get running. And, for a small monthly fee, small businesses can use Pipedrive to manage their sales without spending big bucks on a CRM with functionality they do not need in order to be successful.
Zoho is a multichannel sales CRM with functionality ranging from email, live chat, telephony, social media, and more. Similar to Pipedrive, Zoho CRM is a lighter weight CRM for a small monthly fee. Small businesses love Zoho because of its breadth of features at an affordable price. With Zoho you can connect in real time with customers and prospects, across all channels. SalesSignals notifies you when a hot prospect is browsing your site, reading your email campaign, or engaging with your brand on social media, allowing you to close sales using helpful insights and data.
Pipeline management with Zoho allows your team to identify quality leads, decide who to assign them to, discover the right deals to follow up on, and exceed revenue targets. Plus, you will get much better visibility into your sales pipeline.
Did you know?
Klient can integrate with these CRMs that small businesses are choosing, as well as a wide range of other applications including accounting systems.
For small businesses that sell professional services, Klient PSA can be the perfect addition to your team. You can use your ideal small business CRM for marketing and sales, and seamlessly integrate with Klient PSA which will manage your projects from sales right through delivery.
Learn more about Klient Software’s integrations here: https://klient.com/integrations/